Every year, from early October to mid-November, a small town of Alba in Piedmont celebrates the annual White Truffle Fair (Fiera internazionale del tartufo bianco d’Alba). For six weeks the town, dubbed the world’s truffles capital, fills up with fragrant aroma of the noble tuber, music, gastronomic stands and crowds of excited visitors. Folklore performances, cultural events, food demonstrations, wine tastings, parades are in the programme. Enjoy the fair during your private Italy tours!
Buyers from some of the most prestigious restaurants and gourmands flock in the Galleria della Maddalena to bargain over the precious Tuber Magnatum. Serious prices, up to 220 American dollars per gram have been paid for white truffles. However, you do not have to have deep pockets to enjoy the fair.
Among the fair’s highlights is the “Palio degli Asini“, the donkey race, during which the town’s nine quarters compete for the prize. Other old traditions re-enacted during the celebration are the costumed parade and medieval market with ancient local dishes served in historic quarters of Alba.
One of the events is always dedicated to the hard-working dogs that hunt truffles. During the show, visitors learn how the dogs are trained and can participate in an actual truffle hunt.
At the end of the fair the World White Truffle Auction takes place with buyers from Hong Kong, Moscow, Las Vegas, London, Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles buying white truffles via a satellite connections. If you are not planning to splash out on a whole tuber or two, head to one of the local restaurants that offer a great choice of dishes, from starters to desserts, made with the aromatic Tuber Magnatum. The gastronomic stands sell exquisite truffle oil, cheeses rolled in slivers of white truffle, truffle pate, truffle butter and a vast array of gadgets that every self-respecting truffle lover should have in their kitchen.
Photos via Flickr by: Irene Grassi, Giorgio Montersino, Kent Wang.